Cell phone use surges to high | Shanghai Daily

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October 20, 2009

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Cell phone use surges to high

CHINA'S mobile communications business accounted for more than 60 percent of the total telecommunications industry income in the first nine months, a record high since the country started to collect such figures a decade ago, the industry regulator said yesterday.

The portion of fixed line income fell 4 percentage points year on year to 28.2 percent from January to September, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"The mobile substitution (of fixed line) will continue in the domestic market because of the lower and lower mobile rate and the development of 3G," said Sandy Shen, a telecom analyst of Gartner Inc, a United States-based IT consulting firm.

In the period, China's telecom industry posted revenue of 625.69 billion yuan (US$91.11 billion), a 3.1-percent rise annually, the ministry said.

Mobile communications revenue accounted for 60.14 percent of the total income in the first nine months, compared with 55.58 percent a year ago, according to the ministry.

From this month, China Telcom users get free incoming calls, making the company the first telco to adopt a long-awaited one-way charge system for all customers. The two other telcos said yesterday they will follow suit but did not say when, though they have announced other discounts.

The average mobile communications cost is about 0.15 yuan a minute, close to fixed-line phone's 0.10 to 0.12 yuan.

In Shanghai and Beijing, the mobile penetration rate has surpassed 100 percent by the end of last month, which means each citizen has one or more handsets on average, according to the ministry.

In January, 3G licenses were issued to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. Based on the third generation technology, users can access high-speed data services on their handsets.

China Mobile and China Unicom have launched mobile payment services in Shanghai. The handsets can be used as "mobile wallets" to pay public transport and World Expo tickets.

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